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Dr. William H. Muller Jr.


1919 - 2012 Obituary Condolences
Dr. William H. Muller Jr. Obituary
Dr. William Henry Muller Jr. died in Irvington, Va. at the age of 92 on April 19, 2012. He was born on August 19, 1919 to Octavia Bethea Muller and William Henry Muller and grew up in Dillon, S.C. He was graduated from The McCallie School and received a BS degree from The Citadel and an MD degree from Duke University, after which he completed a surgical residency and served as an Instructor of Surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He joined the faculty at The University of California at Los Angeles as one of its first faculty members to start the new medical school in 1940 and became associate professor of surgery in l952. In l954 he was appointed Stephen H. Watts Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, a position he held for 27 years. Appointed Vice President for Health Affairs and Director of the Medical Center in 1976, he served simultaneously in both positions for 5 ½ years and retired from the University in 1990. During this period he initiated the development of the Health Services Foundation and also chaired the committee to build the new University Hospital, which was dedicated in l989.
Dr. Muller entered the United States Army as a captain and served in Berlin, Germany. He returned to Pratt General Hospital in Miami and was separated from the Army in 1946 at which time he returned to Dillon because his father was severely ill. While there Dr. Muller entered the practice of surgery performing a large number of procedures but he was asked to return to Johns Hopkins to complete his residency in both General and Cardiovascular Surgery. It was after this that he was invited to accept a position at the new medical school being built at the University of California at Los Angeles which he did until becoming chairman of the surgery department at the University of Virginia.
There Dr. Muller initiated programs in cardiovascular, plastic and oncologic surgery. He was the first to replace a diseased aortic valve with a prosthetic one, and he developed the pulmonary artery banding procedure for infants and children with certain types of congenital heart disease. He also developed an operation to partially correct transposed pulmonary veins and performed the first corrective procedure for dissecting aneurysm of the aorta using the pump oxygenator.
Rather than accepting plans for an addition to the University Hospital, he began to plan for a new hospital. He chaired a planning committee and the hospital was completed in 1988 and dedicated in 1989.
He was a member of a number of scholarly and professional organizations. He served as chairman of the Board of Regents for the American College of Surgeons and was elected its president in l979. He served as president of a number of surgical organizations including the American Surgical Association, the Society of University Surgeons, and the Society for Vascular Surgery and the Southern Surgical Association of which he was made an honorary member. He was vice president of the International Cardiovascular Society, the James IV Association of Surgeons and Vice Chairman of the American Board of Surgery. In addition, he was a founder of the Association for Academic Surgery.
He served as a member of the National Research Council Executive Committee; he was Chairman of the Surgery Study Section, a member of the Otolaryngology Study Section, and the Academic Surgery Training Committee of the National Institutes of Health. He was also a member of the Research Committee of the American Heart Association and Chairman of the Virginia Committee, and he served as Vice Chairman of the Residency Training Committee in Surgery. In addition, he served for 13 years as an active member of the Board of Trustees and its Executive Committee of Duke University. Former residents of Dr. Muller formed the Muller Surgical Society in 1968 and it continues to meet biannually in Charlottesville and elsewhere.
Dr. Muller was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the United States, and one of five in California by the Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1952. He received the Outstanding Achievement Award from McCallie School, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Duke University, the Research Award and the Thomas Jefferson Award as well as the Walter Reed Achievement Award from the University of Virginia, the Rudolph Matas Award from Tulane and the Pittsburg Surgical Society Award. He was made a member of the Society of Scholars of the Johns Hopkins University, and awarded honorary degrees from The Citadel and The Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Muller was a member of the Raven Society of the University of Virginia and a member of the editorial boards of a number of professional journals as well as editor of the Transactions of the American Surgical Association. He lectured widely in this country and abroad, served numerous visiting professorships and was the author of more than 160 scientific papers, book chapters, and books. Dr. Muller was devoted to the practice of surgery for more than 40 years.
He served as a deacon of the Westminster Presbyterian Church for several years and was a member of the congregation of the St. Paul's Church of Ivy.
He was devoted to his family and is survived by his wife of 66 years, Hildwin Headley Muller, formerly of Baltimore and three children and their spouses, William H. Muller III of Wicomico Church, Virginia, Marietta Muller Gwathmey and her husband, Frank Winston Gwathmey of Wilmington, N.C., and John Lewis Muller, and his wife, Katherine Foster Muller of Irvington. He is also survived by nine grandchildren and their spouses, Clare Gwathmey Dorn and Scott, Frank Winston Gwathmey Jr. and Kelly, William Richard Gwathmey and Sarah Holt, Rebecca Ann Muller, Mark William Muller, Matthew Thomas Muller, Sarah Muller Turnbull and Edward, John Lewis Muller Jr., and William Dixon Muller, and four great-grandchildren, William Edward Dorn, Alexandra Clare Dorn, Catherine Calder Gwathmey and Katherine Claybrook Turnbull. A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Monday, April 23 in the University of Virginia Chapel at the corner of McCormick Road and University Avenue, Charlottesville. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the University of Virginia Medical School Foundation c/o William H. Muller, Jr. Scholarship Fund, P O Box 800776, Charlottesville, VA 22908. Arrangements by Marks-Bristow Funeral Home, Tappahannock.
Published in The Virginian Pilot on Apr. 21, 2012
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